Garcinia Cambogia For Weight Loss: Does It Really Work?

In the science of medicine, the past two decades has been a lot of progression in terms of the number of fat burners available on the market. There are more and more products made from natural ingredients that promise spectacular health benefits – which is mainly a good thing.

However, one ingredient that’s become very controversial is Garcinia Cambogia; this has been around for a while, right in the focus of weight loss research, but it’s shown to be capable of causing worrying side effects in certain studies.

Anyway, you’re here to learn the truth about Garcinia Cambogia, and whether it really can help you shift some unwanted pounds. So we’ll take you through all of the important points that you need to know about this nutrient:

  • Does Garcinina Cambogia Work?
  • How Does Garcinia Cambogia Work?
  • Side Effects: Is Garcinia Cambogia Safe?
  • Garcinia Cambogia Benefits
  • Conclusion

Does Garcinia Cambogia Work?

This is the golden question, and probably the main question you came here to ask. But the answer isn’t quite as simple as ‘yes or no’.

Why? Because according to the findings made so far, Garcinia Cambogia is quite controversial; it’s shown to work in some studies, but it’s also shown to cause side effects such as acute liver failure.

But remember that regardless of whether Garcinia Cambogia works or not, weight loss is all about the diet (over 60% percent of the battle is won or lost in the kitchen!), physical activity and eating thermogenics to boost your metabolic rate.

How Does Garcinia Cambogia Work?

Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is believed to be responsible for Garcinia Cambogia extract’s ability to promote fat loss. To be more precise, it’s -(-) isomer; the acid is isolated from the fruit rind. Because of the rather unstable chemical structure (it tends to “slip” into it’s biologically less active form), different ions are added to form salts (chemically stable compounds).

In some supplements, Na+ can be found, but in the recent years, the technology of preparing double and triple salts to maximize bioavailability is taking place. In case you’re wondering, with regards to this, a combination of Ca2+/K+ salts (HCA-SX) turned out to be the most effective [1].

Now, of course, all of the above is assuming that Garcinia Cambogia works. But remember that there have also been many studies showing that this nutrient has no effect on weight loss and that it can even cause side effects too (more on this below).

Side Effects: Is Garcinia Cambogia Safe?

Based on the results of the study conducted in 2012 [2], Garcinia Cambogia supplements has shown conflicting results. Complete safety profile has been assembled in the last few years – leading to differing views about its safety.

Basically, studies have shown that the maximum safe dose for humans is around 1240 mg/kg/day – so it wouldn’t be wise to exceed this amount. One of the reasons for this is because Garcinia Cambogia has shown to be linked with acute liver failure in a study as recently as 2016 [3] – pretty worrying, right?

In case you don’t believe us, you can see the official study here:

Not only that, WebMD and DrAxe state that Garcinia Cambogia can react badly when consumed alongside medicines for; asthma, diabetes, warfarin, pain medicines. So you shouldn’t be considering to supplement Garcinia Cambogia if you’re taking any of these medicines listed here.


Garcinia Cambogia Benefits (If It Does Work)

We’ve mentioned that Garcinia Cambogia isn’t entirely safe when supplemented. But we always try to offer non-bias articles on, so we’ll be detailing the benefits that Garcinia Cambogia might offer (assuming that it does work).

So, the following results are the conclusions of research studies about Garcinia Cambogia conducted in the past 10-15 years:

Food intake suppression and serotonin levels

HCA increases serotonin level by stopping the biosynthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol after a meal rich in carbs [4]. Instead, it “shifts” metabolic pathways to “non-fatty” direction [4]. More serotonin- less hunger. While the exact mechanism of food intake suppression remains to be the subject of medical research, so far we know that people on HCA supplements eat less food in total (therefore fewer calories). The most probable explanation is the complex interaction between HCA, serotonin level, neuropeptide Y, leptin, resistin, and genes expression in adipose tissue.

Decreased lipogenesis

In simple words, less fat is stored in adipose tissue. Several studies have suggested that HCA, by limiting the availability of building blocks for lipogenesis reduces the amount of fat stored in adipose tissue [5]. Having this in mind, it is clear why HCA supplementation makes sense. Instead of synthesizing fat, HCA might push the metabolism towards glycogen synthesis. Mobilizing glycogen from its deposit is much easier and faster than mobilizing fats from the adipose tissue.

Fat Oxidation

According to clinical studies [6], HCA has significant short and long-term effects on energy metabolism. One of the most interesting studies on this topic was conducted by Ishihara et al. They found that continuous supplementation with HCA might cause a significant increase in fat depletion.

Experiments on rats suggested that, during physical exercise, metabolic pathways for utilizing fats activate much faster in subjects on HCA supplementation [7]. In simple words, this means that if you perform some kind of aerobic physical activity, fat as a primary source of energy might be utilized much faster. But there has also been studies suggesting that this isn’t the case.

Insulin resistance and cholesterol levels

One of the most important effects of HCA is those considering insulin resistance and increased HDL (good cholesterol)/ LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. If you are overweight or obese, it is the matter of time when insulin resistance will show up. Simply, chronic caloric surplus and the diet rich in sugar inevitably cause insulin resistance.

Having in mind that it is completely preventable and that, if left untreated, it progresses to diabetes, it is clear why this effect of HCA is so important. So while Garcinia Cambogia might not work as a fat burner, it might help be beneficial for this reason.

However, diabetic patients who already take medicines to lower their blood sugar should use Garcinia Cambogia cautiously after consultation with the health professional (to avoid dangerously low levels of blood sugar).

The same applies to those who already use therapy for high cholesterol (most often, statins therapy). Once the insulin resistance is reversed, weight loss speeds up, since the most important aspect of insulin resistance is an intense stimulation of lipogenesis (fat) due to high insulin level.



Just like buying a high-quality guitar doesn’t make you a world-class guitar player, getting a Garcinia Cambogia extract won’t shed the excess pounds. Ultimately, regardless of whether Garcinia Cambogia works or not, you’re going to have to eat clean and work hard in the gym (or running outside etc) – just like with any fat burner supplement, you won’t lose weight while eating pizza sat on the couch.

“So, if I have to watch what I eat and exercise, why do I need any weight loss supplements or fat burners?” might be something you’re thinking. The answer is simple: to cut the time needed to achieve your goal weight. Why wouldn’t you do it in 4 months with an effective fat burner extract instead of 6 months without it?

Finding a reputable supplier is another key factor for getting a high-quality supplement. Pass the no-name brands and go for the reputable, well-established ones! We’ve helped you out by compiling a list of the best 3 fat burners on the market that we’ve tried ourselves.

Final Verdict on Garcinia Cambogia

While some studies suggest that Garcinia Cambogia extract is safe to consume, we’re worried about the studies that show that this nutrient can cause serious side effects (such as acute liver failure). For this reason, we personally, wouldn’t choose to supplement Garcinia Cambogia over thermogenic nutrients such as Green Tea Extract (which has proven to beneficial and safe in countless studies).

But providing that Garcinia Cambogia does work, it’ll be down to HCA; this potentially speeds up weight loss by increasing serotonin level in the brain (that way reducing the appetite), reduce the amount of food eaten, reduces lipogenesis (production of fat tissue), increases fat oxidation, cures insulin resistance and reduces cholesterol levels.

Finally, if you are already committed to supplementing Garcinia Cambogia: if you already take drugs for blood sugar or cholesterol control, please talk to your doctor before buying Garcinia Cambogia extract (readjustments of drug doses may be necessary).



[1] Bioefficacy of a novel calcium-potassium salt of (-)-hydroxycitric acid. Downs BW, Bagchi M, Subbaraju GV, Shara MA, Preuss HG, Bagchi D. Mutat Res. 2005 Nov 11; 579(1-2):149-62.

[2] Chuah LO, Yeap SK, Ho WY, Beh BK, Banu Alitheen N. In vitro and in vivo toxicity of Garcinia or hydroxycitric acid: a review. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

[3] Corey R, Werner KT, Singer A, Moss A, Smith M, Noelting J, Rakela J et al. Acute liver failure associated with Garcinia cambogia use. Ann Hepatol. 2016 Jan-Feb; 15(1): 123-6.

[4] Asghar M, Zeyssig R, Monjok E, et al. Hydroxycitric acid (HCA-SX) decreases oxidative stress and insulin resistance and increases brain serotonin levels in obese Zucker rats. Experimental Biology Meeting. 2006;20A655.4

[5] Metabolic regulation as a control for lipid disorders. I. Influence of (–)-hydroxycitrate on experimentally induced obesity in the rodent. Sullivan C, Triscari J Am J Clin Nutr. 1977 May; 30(5):767-76.

[6] Inhibition of lipogenesis in rat liver by (-)-hydroxycitrate. Sullivan AC, Hamilton JG, Miller ON, Wheatley VR Arch Biochem Biophys. 1972 May; 150(1):183-90.

[7] Chronic (-)-hydroxycitrate administration spares carbohydrate utilization and promotes lipid oxidation during exercise in mice. Ishihara K, Oyaizu S, Onuki K, Lim K, Fushiki T J Nutr. 2000 Dec; 130(12):2990-5.

[8] Efficacy of a novel calcium/potassium salt of (-)-hydroxycitric acid in weight control.Preuss HG, Garis RI, Bramble JD, Bagchi D, Bagchi M, Rao CV, Satyanarayana S Int J Clin Pharmacol Res. 2005; 25(3):133-44.

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